Domain One: Raw Materials for Cheesemaking

Any cheese professional should have the ability to describe the cheesemaking process and the ingredients involved in cheese making, in general, and for specific cheese types. This would include the ability to explain the difference between raw and pasteurized milk, the composition of milks of various animals, pathogens and their sources, the various coagulants, colors, and salt.

I. Typical raw materials used in cheesemaking

A. Milk
B. Cultures
C. Color
D. Calcium Chloride
E. Rennet
F. Lipases
G. Salt

II. Milk Source Species/Types Composition, Differences, Cheesemaking properties

A. Definition of milk

  1. Natural occurring fluid in female mammal
  2. Primary purpose is to provide nutrition of young

B. Grade A milk quality standards

C. Breed of animal and impact on milk composition (quantity and quality)

  1. Dairy Cattle-Jersey, Holstein, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Milking Shorthorn, Ayrshire, Dutch Belt, Ayrshire, mixed milking breeds)
  2. Goat (primary breeds Nubian, Alpine, Saanen, Togenberg, and LaMancha)
  3. Sheep (primary breeds – Laucaune, East Friesian, British Milksheep, Dorset, Chio, Awassi, Assaf, Sarda, Manchega, Churra, Laxta, mixed)
  4. Other Milking Animals or bovine – Water Buffalo, Camel, Horse, Yak

D. Animal diet

  1. Grazing/pasture effects
  2. Seasonality
  3. Terroir
  4. Science based benefits
  5. Rotational grazing versus old world pasture6. TMR (Total Mixed Rations, the current most common feeding practice on large farms where various feeds (i.e. corn, corn silage, hay or haylage, cottonseed, soybeans, and out West, vegetable waste products, orange peels, almond husks, etc.) are blended together and then fed to the dairy animals

E. Stages of lactation

F. Health of animal

  1. Somatic cell count/mastitis
  2. Antibiotics
  3. Age

G. Other milk sources, use and implications

  1. Nonfat dry milk
  2. Ultra Filtered (UF) milk
  3. Condensed skim milk
  4. Milk Protein Concentrate
  5. Sweet Cream
  6. Whey cream

III. Milk Quality

A. Pathogens of concern

  1. Bacterial contaminants in milk including sources
    1. Sourced by animal
    2. Sourced by environment
    3. Sourced by human contact
  2. Yeast and mold contaminants in milk
    1. Sourced by animal
    2. Sourced by environment
    3. Sourced by human contact
  3. Viruses/bacteriophage in milk
    1. Sourced by animal
    2. Sourced by environment
    3. Sourced by human contact
  4. Common bacterial pathogens found in milk
    1. Sourced by animal
    2. Sourced by environment
    3. Sourced by human contact
  5. Gas formers found in milk
    1. Sourced by animal
    2. Sourced by environment
    3. Sourced by human contact
  6. Non-starter lactic acid bacteria found in milk

B. Effect of milk temperature/time on bacterial growth

  1. Chart as to milk age (UW-CDR?)
  2. Chart as to holding temp/bacterial growth

C. Microbiological quality tests for raw milk

  1. Equipment type/needs
  2. Testing points (farm/dairy plant/independent-3rd party)

D. Somatic cell counts/mastitis (include in animal health – see above)

E. Inhibitors/antibiotics

F.  Other milk quality parameters

  1. Acid degree value
  2. Sediment
  3. Freezing point/added water
  4. Bloody milk
  5. Acidity of raw milk
  6. Human contamination

IV. Use of raw milk for cheesemaking

A. Definition

B. Advantages and disadvantages

V. Use of heat treated milk

A. Advantages and disadvantages

  1. Historical perspectives
  2. Scientific basics of microbial thermal destruction

B.  Vat pasteurization

  1. Equipment basics
  2. Legal requirements (145°F for 30 minutes)
  3. Advantages and disadvantages of vat pasteurization

C. HTST (high temperature short time) pasteurization

  1. Equipment basics
  2. Legal requirements (161°F for 15 sec. in HTST)
  3. Timing and sealing

D. Thermalization

  1. Heat treat milk to temperature lower than pasteurization (63°C for 10-15 seconds.)
  2. Results in less inactivation of enzymes and NSLAB (nonstarter lactic acid bacteria)
  3. The United States FDA considers this still to be raw milk, while the European Union considered it pasteurized. (Definition from Fundamentals of Cheese Science pg.49/Aspen Publication)

E. Advantages and disadvantages vs. vat pasteurization

F. Ensuring legal pasteurization

  1. Documentation
  2. Alkaline phosphatase test
  3. Regulatory agency inspection and approval of equipment
  4. Plant personnel: correct operation training

VI. Cultures

A. Purpose of cultures

  1. Acid production
  2. Flavor production

B. Classification of cultures

  1. Homofermentative vs heterofermentative
  2. Mesophilic cultures
  3. Thermophilic cultures
  4. Rods vs. cocci

C. Starter culture forms

  1. Culture houses vs proprietary house culture
  2. Freeze dried
  3. Frozen bulk set
    1. Bulk Set culture techniques
  4. Frozen concentrated direct vat set
    1. Direct Set culture techniques

D. Preparation of starter culture

  1. Carried cultures
  2. Bulk starter preparation choices

E. Culture adjuncts

  1. Mold
  2. Yeast
  3. Bacterial flavor producers and/or gas producers

F. Bacteriophage control and prevention strategies

G. Addition of starter to the cheese vat

H. Natural cultures found in raw milk and cheese plant environments

I. Handling and storage issues


VI. Color

A.  Annatto color

  1. What is annatto coloring
  2. Why is it used
  3. Best practices for addition of annatto color

B.  Other color alternatives

C.  Handling and storage issues


VII. Calcium chloride

A.  Proper usage

B.  Handling and storage issues


VIII. Rennet

A. Animal rennet

  1. Breeds

B. Microbial rennets

  1. Role of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

C. Fermentation produced chymosin (FPC)

D. Chymax M

E. Plant-based coagulation

F. Proper usage

G. Handling and storage issues

H. Kosher and Halal requirements

I. Curd-set, yield and flavor issues with different coagulants

J. Organic


IX. Lipases

A. Calf lipases

B. Kid goat lipases

C. Lamb lipases

D. Microbial lipases

E. Proper usage

F. Handling and storage issues

G. Kosher and Halal requirements


X. Salt

A. Types of salt (crystal size and shape)

B. Other salts used (Sea salt; KCl blends, etc.)

C. Use of salt in dry salting applications

D. Use of salt in brine salting applications

E. Handling, storage, and use issues